It is a different kind of experience to be a sensitive child; there are so many different dynamics. A sensitive child is one who is more thoughtful and may be introverted. They think about others more, may seem more fearful and may even cry more. It can be frustrating to have a sensitive child but it is so much more frustrating to be one. There are many things that you can consider to help your special child develop into a trusting adjusted adult.
A sensitive child is so tuned in to other’s needs that they may take on the responsibility of being the caretaker. It is sweet to have a thoughtful child but the pressure for them, especially as they grow and become aware of the world around them, could be unbearable. Make sure to BE the parent. Reassure your child many times and many ways that it is not their responsibility to take care of the parent or even the sibling. Don’t give them access to family worries and problems. They could obsess over how to solve things that they cannot.
Encourage your sensitive child to interact with others their age. It may take formal introductions and one on one play-dates for them to feel comfortable engaging another child. It may take constant effort on the adult’s part to prevent them from receding into their own world. It is worth the effort to bring a child out of themselves and keep them grounded in their own childhood.
Try to help your child realize that sometimes they are feeling compassion for others. Their sadness isn’t always theirs. If you help them sort this out, it will give them a great insight into themselves and help them all through their lives.
Buffer special children from the plights of the world. They feel too deeply to process all the “goings on” of the world through their developing psyche. Allow them to believe in fairies, Santa Claus and imaginary friends as long as they need them. These are great coping mechanisms for them.
Your child may be very hard on themselves. If you point out their mistakes and shortcomings, it may be very painful to them. They may then acerbate mistakes with their acute ability to manifest.
If your child has an aversion to certain things, respect that boundary. Forcing a sensitive child to partake in scary movies, rituals (like Halloween) or rough play can be a form of hell for them.
Nurture your child’s creativity, enthusiasm and individuality. Try to limit the number of times they hear the words no, should and can’t. You can get your point across by diverting any “no” into a positive. For example, if you don’t want your child to do something, divert their attention with something they are interested in as opposed to just saying no.
Most important of all is to listen to your child. They will tell you what is important to them and give you a sense of their unique value system. Respect their beliefs and values. You are entrusted to make their lives as uplifting as possible. Having a sensitive child may be your life’s lesson in how to be more sensitive yourself.